The Buzz Blog

Welcome to our blog 'The Buzz'.  Here we will keep you updated on what is happening in the world of bees and honey and anything else that we think you would be interested in.  If there is a topic you would like to hear about drop us an email and I'll see what we can do.

Timeless Marokopa!

Written by Stephanie on October 28th, 2016.      1 comments

With summer around the corner I thought we could share with you some special Waikato spots we have found in the areas where our honeys are harvested from.  This time I'm going to focus on Marokopa.  

You may wonder where Marokopa is!  It's about 3/4 of an hour west of Waitomo, right beside the rugged west coast.  When you drive into the settlement you feel like you are going back in time.  It is a wonderful place to escape the hustle and bustle of life and just relax!  It's famous for it's fishing and white-baiting. 


When driving from Waitomo Village to Marokopa there are a variety of short walks including:

Mangapohue Natural Bridge

This is the highlight on the scenic drive from Waitomo to Marokopa.  The 20 minute track follows a boardwalk through an amazing limestone gorge that takes you under an impressive natural bridge.  If you look up you will see the ceiling is studded with stalactite type formations.  It truly is a beautiful and unique setting.  The track continues over farmland where you can see 25 million year old fossilised oysters in the limestone outcrops.  You will find the natural bridge along Te Anga Road between Waitomo and Marokopa (about 25km from Waitomo).


Piripiri Cave Walk

This short 5 minute walk takes you through native bush, past some limestone outcrops and down some stairs to one of the few free caves open to the general public.  A platform allows you to view into the cave, remember to take a torch!  You will find the start of the track along Te Anga Road between Waitomo and Marokopa (about 29km from Waitomo).


Marokopa-FallsMarokopa Falls

This is an easy 20 minute return walk through a native tawa and nikau forest to the beautiful Marokopa Falls.  The 35mm high waterfall is said to be one of the most beautiful falls in the country so it worth checking out.  The waterfall divides Marokopa River into two, making it a popular trout fishing area, so bring your fishing rod!
The start of the walk is sign posted on Te Anga Road between Waitomo and Marokopa (about 31km from Waitomo).

​Here are some other great things to see in the Marokopa area:

Kiritehere Beach

You'll find Kiritehere beach just south of Marokopa.  Not only is the surf good but it is a great place to look for fossils!  The limestones on the beach are filled with fossilised clams, mussels and scallops that are more than 200 million years old.

Waitomo Area

There is so much to see and do in the Waitomo area, including:
  • Waitomo Glowworm Caves
  • Ruakuri Caves & Bush Scenic Reserve
  • Waitomo Museum of Caves
  • Cave adventures: abseiling, black water rafting, etc
  • Opapaka Pa Walk
  • Waitomo Walkway
Check out this great guide to walks in the area.

If you're looking to purchase some food or supplies while you're in the area make sure you stop at the Waitomo General Store just down from the Museum!  They are a licensed cafe and sell groceries, souvenirs, etc. 

Much of this information and more is found on the Department of Conservation Website, check it to plan your weekend get aways.

Purchase Marokopa Honey here!  Please note not all our honey varieties are available all the time.



Did You Know That Bees Dance!

Written by Stephanie on October 21st, 2016.      0 comments

Bees dance to communicate to other bees in their colony where food sources can be found, possible new homes, etc.  The dance is called a 'waggle dance', it's fascinating!  A bee returns to the hive fully loaded up with honey and pollen and then uses the waggle dance to tell the others the location of where she has just visited.  The dancing bee makes a figure eight and waggles her body at the same time to relay information.  The information she gives includes the location, quality and quantity of the nectar and pollen. 

The direction she waggles indicates the direction of the location in relation to the sun.  If the bee waggles straight up the honey comb the other bees fly towards the sun.  If she waggles on the left the bees are to fly to the left of the sun and if she waggles to the right they head to the right of the sun.

The rhythm of the dance explains the distance to the location from the hive.  The faster she waggles the further away the location is.  The pollen and nectar she has collected gives the other bees information on the type of flowers, their quality and quantity.  Aren't they clever!

Here's a wonderful video from National Geographic showing this dance in the hive! 

Duties of Bees

Written by Stephanie on October 14th, 2016.      0 comments

Have you ever wondered what the honey bee gets up to when it's in the hive?  Did you know that a bee is allocated a job depending on its age?  Here are the jobs they are allocated:
Days Old
Role Duties
1-2 Housekeeper - Cleans cells, starting with the one it was born in
- Caps cells
- Keeps the brood warm
3-5 Nurse - Feeds older larvae with honey and pollen
- Attends to the queen
6-11 Nurse - Feeds the youngest larvae with royal jelly
- Attends to the queen
12-17 Hive Builder & Food Management - Receives and stores food
- Ripens honey
- Performs undertaker duties
- Produces wax, read how bees make beeswax
- Builds comb
18-21  Guard - Protects the hive entrance
- Ventilates the hive
- Takes exercise and orientation flights to learn to fly and locate the hive
22-onwards Forager - Flys from the hive collecting pollen, nectarpropolis and water, pollinates plants, etc.


Wild Flower Seeds Help NZ Bees

Written by Stephanie on October 7th, 2016.      0 comments

wildflowersThanks to all those that have purchased the Bee Friendly Wild Flower seed mix from us.  In total Sweetree has raised $2013 from sales of these seeds to help NZ bees.  We will continue to sell these so it's not to late to encourage bees to your garden!

Bees are vital for the pollination of many flowers. This mixture has been composed of flowers that are proven bee favourites in our gardens.

Bees will forage on these flowers for nectar and pollen which provide carbohydrates and protein for growth and energy. Well nourished bees are more capable of fending off disease and parasites. Wildflowers are naturally organic—they are not susceptible to bugs or diseases, can help control garden pests and they attract bees and beneficial insects into the garden. The mix contains annuals that will provide food for bees all season long.

Purchase Bee Friendly Seeds here


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